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frequently personified in Scripture"; and both are addressed in that animated apostrophe, “O Death, “where is thy sting ! O Grave (33%), where is thy victory f (" The gates of death, which are opened by these keys, are frequently mentioned in Scripture t; and the gates of Hell (avaz 338) by our Saviour S. And the same mctaphorical expression is used by heathen authors ||. The keys of these gates are in the possession of the Captain of our Salvation, who, by suffering death, triumphed over Death is ; under his banner, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” This conquest is represented as complete in 1 Cor. xv. and in the sequel of this book”. By this, Christ has obtained for his faithful followers a safe passage through the gates of Death, and through the terrors of Hell, to that kingdom of glory which he has prepared for them. Under no consideration can our Redeemer be felt of greater importance to us, than as possessing the keys of Death, and of our future state of everlasting existence. Ver. 19. JWrite, &c.] The Apostle is commanded to write for the information of the Church; and the subject matter which he is to write is here divided (as indeed it naturally divides) into two parts; 1st, the scene then before him, with the address to the seven Churches, revealing to them their then internal and real state ; 2dly, the events which were to happen to the Church in future. This same division occurs again in ch. iv. 1, where, the first part being dispatched, the Prophet is invited to behold “the things which are “about to happen after these.” Both are revealed by the spirit of prophecy, which was equally necessary to discover the real internal state of the Church then existing, as the events which were to happen to it in future. We may instance in the Church of Sardis ", which enjoyed the reputation of a living Church, a Church flourishing in faith, doctrine, and practice; but she is discovered, by the spirit of prophecy, to be “deadt.” Ver. 20. The mystery.] Mugwotov, in the scriptural language, generally signifies hidden and recondite. knowledge; such as is accessible only by the peculiar favour and revelation of God?. In prophetic language, as in this passage, and in ch. xvii. 7, it is used to sig-nify the meaning concealed under figurative resem-X blances. So the stars are angels, and the lamp-bearers churches: for the explanation of which, as relating to the lamp-bearers, see the note, ver. 12, and as relating to the stars, ver, 16; in which latter note will be seen some of the reasons why the bishops or presidents of

* Is. v. 14. Hab. ii. 5. + 1 Cor. xv. 55.
f Job xxxviii. 17. Ps. ix. 13. § Matt. xvi. 18.

| Hom. Iliad. ix. 312. ‘s Heb, ii. 14. * Ch. xxi, 4.
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* Ch. iii. 1. t Some commentators have supposed three divisions, as arising from these words of Jesus Christ; namely, a toss, to express the things which John had already seen; 4 tigi, the things which he was seeing, the present state of the Churches; 4 pixxt yivsaga, the things to come. , But it will appear that John had already seen nothing but the beginning on to (, , , of a vision, which was then disclosing the 3 uai, the present state of the #. Churches. The vision is one and the same; the Son of Man, clothed, 24, 24*. with the same symbols, delivers the whole of it. And the word slots, Åo o being used in an indefinite tense, may be understood as having relation to the whole scenery of vision which was then passing, and about to pass, before the Apostle; and thus it may be fitly translated, “that “which thou seest," and, with the $ Castrus of the eleventh verse (which has also an indefinite signification), understood to comprehend the two subsequent divisions. It is to be observed also, that the word slots is applied in the next verse to the appearance of the Son of Man, with the symbols of the stars, &c. which John was at that present instant beholding; and that in the verse next following (ch. ii. 1.) Jesus is described continuing to hold the stars, by the present participle, xoa row. * I Cor, ii. 7. xiii, 2. xv. 51. Eph. iii. 3. v. 32, the

the primitive Church were called angels or messengers; and why, consistently with the usage of the symbolic language in Scripture, they are represented under the emblem of stars. In Malachi ii. 7, the Priest of the Lord is styled Angel or Messenger of the Lord, And it appears from the accounts of the ancient Jewish synagogue (the forms of which were followed in the first Christian Churches), that the ruler of the synagogue, or at least the chief minister, was styled Sheliach Zibbor, The Angel of the Congregation *; and what the Sheliach Zibbor did in the synagogue, that the Bishop appears to have done in the primitive Christian Churchf. The term angel, or messenger, instead of bishop, seems to have been in use principally, if not exclusively, in the eastern Churches.

o Buxtorf, Synag. Jud. Vitringa de Syn. Vet. Prideaux, Con, part, i. book vi. + Introd. to N. T. by Beausobre and L'Enfant.

*

P A R T I. S E C T I O N IV. The Address to the Church in Ephesus. chap. ii. v ER. 1–7. 1 Unto the Angel of the

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Church in Ephesus,
write; Thus saith he
who holdeth the seven
stars in his right hand,
who walketh in the
midst of the seven
golden lamp-bearers;

2 I know thy works, and

thy labour, and thy
patience, and that thou
caust not endure evil

men. And thou hast

Church of Ephesus, write, These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candle

2 sticks ; I know thy

works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are

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tried them who say they are Apostles, and are not; and thou hast found them false. And thou hast patience, and hast endured on account of my name, and hast not been wearied out. But I have against thee that thou hast left thy former love. Be mindful, then, whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the former works; or else I am coming to thee [soon], and I will remove thy lampbearer out of its place, unless thou repent.

6 But this thou hast,

that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.

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name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly,and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith

Churches, that over

unto the To him

cometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

Wer. 1. Unto the angel of the dress of our Lord is not unto the angels, or presidents Y of the churches, on their own behalf, but on account

Church.]

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of

of the churches over which they preside. This will appear in many instances, but particularly in that of the Church of Thyatira", where ‘piv Aeyw, (I say to you, not to thee) plainly shews it. Some of the commentators, overlooking this, have understood the words of Christ as addressed to the Presidents on their own individual account. They are addressed to the seven Churches in particular, and through them to the universal church in all times and in all places; such is the figurative import of the number seven f. Some commentators have proceeded farther. They have imagined that under the description of the seven churches, seven successive periods of the church are prophetically delineated. But this does not agree with the division made by the Divine Giver of this Revelation t. whereby he points out the second and third chapters as containing a sial, “the things which “now are,” and the remaining chapters as unfolding & plexxt yewea 821 usia Tzvoz, “the things which are about “to be after these.” And without entering into farther particulars, it must appear, that no description of any of the seven Churches is sufficiently dark, to express the corrupt state of religion in the middle ages as described in history; or as prophetically delineated in the subsequent parts of this revelation: Nor can we here find any representation of that triumphant state of the church, which, from the concluding chapters of this book, and from other prophecies, we have reason to respect. Another yet more fanciful exposition has been added to this; under the Greek name of each of the seven churches, the successive

* Ch. ii. 24. + See note, chap. i. 4. I Ch. i. 19. which compare with ch. iv. 1. and see the note on the

former passage cha

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